National Clarion BIG RIDE OUT – 21-23rd October – Ilam Hall

Longnor Bound
Gathering for a ride at Illam Hall

The National Clarion Big Ride Out in October was a huge success. Ilam Hall youth hostel in the Peak District was an ideal base for cyclists with local attractions including Tissington Trail, Thors Cave, Dovedale’s Stepping Stones and miles of great cycling in the area. Ilam Hall is only a mile away from the Clarion’s first Conference venue in 1895, The famous Isaac Walton Hotel. The event, which was fully subscribed was ably organised by
  Ian    Clarke.

 John Clayton and Tim Moss 
 rode out to Staffordshire, 
 from Wakefield on Friday 
 afternoon. A Fenland Clarion 
 group rode the 100 miles 
 from Peterborough and other 
 Clarionistas cycled from 
 Barnoldswick and Stockport. 
 Calder’s Steve Burton and 
 Richard Hancock took the 
 easy option of driving. They 
 did get out for an afternoon 
 ride up the hill flanking 
 Thorpe Cloud, guarding the 
 entrance to Dove Dale and 
 on to Hartington, site of the 
 Calder Summer Weekend 
   Tour in 2006, via the Tissington Trail
  and back over the Manifold-Dove 

  On Saturday, three cycling groups left 
  the Hall, ours heading through  
  superb, sunny White Peak scenery to
  Longnor where we sampled soup and 
  sandwiches at the excellent Cobbles 
  Tea shop. Refuelled we tackled the 
  hair pinned climb from Crowdecote up  
  to Waggon Lowe and eventually onto
  the High Peak Trail, 

which took them south eastwards for several miles, before we returned to roads and swinging west through more delightful undulating countryside. By mid  afternoon we dropped into Ashbourne and there enjoyed a pint in the “Olde Vaults before the short stretch to Fenny Bentley and back to Ilam. 

In the evening we joined the other Clarionistas for a couple of pints of the local beer “Wobbly Wallaby”, which, according to the label, was brewed to celebrate a group of Wallabies which escaped from a zoo in the 1930s and settled on the Roaches, eventually becoming a pack/flock/pride ? of about 50. There have been sightings on the Roaches ever since, most recently in 2010. 

On Sunday Tim and John rode home, helped by a tail wind while Steve and Richard took the deserted old coach road from Ilam which twisted around and over some very steep hillsides to Waterhouses. This road passes the abandoned remains of Throwley Hall, birthplace of Oliver Cromwell’s wife (Henry VIII’s henchman, not the Civil War victor). The road is said to have been haunted by a coach and four ever since one overturned killing all it’s occupants in the 18th century. Parts of the route were a bit eerie with mist rolling down from the uplands, but the cyclists didn’t see anything.

The Ham and Manifold trail starts in Waterhouses. It’s a traffic free metalled road through these two spectacular narrow river valleys, flanked by limestone cliffs, past Thor’s Cave to Hulme Edge where the old railway station has been converted into a tourist information centre. From here it was a short hop to Hartington for lunch in the Devonshire Arms which can be recommended. Then a run down to Tissington along the trail and finally a swoop down to Illam from Thorpe.

An excellent Weekend, lookout for it next year.

Video of Calder Clarion Ride

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